Date of Award

Fall 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Michelle Bligh

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

M. Gloria González-Morales

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Kendall Cotton-Bronk

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Claire Robertson-Kraft

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Rights Information

© Copyright Neesha Daulat, 2021 All rights reserved.


The attrition rate of early career teachers is high. In fact, the government spends $2 billion annually to replace teachers in the first five years of their tenure (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2005). The purpose of this dissertation is two-fold: 1) to test the relationship between purpose, psychological well-being, and affective commitment to the profession, and 2) to design and examine the impact of a purpose-centered intervention in a sample of early career teachers in their first or second year of teaching, in the northeast. Study 1 examined the relationship between early career teachers’ purpose, psychological well-being, and commitment to the profession through a cross-sectional survey (N = 78) and regression-based analyses of a full mediation model. I hypothesized that early career teachers’ sense of purpose would contribute to their affective commitment to the profession through their feelings of psychological well-being. Results of Study 1 suggested that early career teachers’ purpose was a strong predictor of their psychological well-being and affective commitment to the profession. Building on Study 1, in Study 2 I developed, piloted, and tested a one-hour purpose-centered intervention (called Grounding in Purpose) using two t-tests (independent and dependent samples): 1) comparison of the waiting control group (n = 43) with the intervention group (n = 67) and 2) comparison of pretest and posttest scores of some participants in the intervention group (n = 20). Research findings for Study 2 indicate that a purpose-centered intervention may positively influence early career teachers’ purpose. Theoretically, the findings establish purpose as a key contributor to affective commitment in ECTs. Practically, the results offer educational leaders and professionals who support early career teachers with tangible recommendations to foster early career teachers’ purpose.